Checking in: Tamarind Village, an oasis within Chiang Mai’s Old City walls
For those who go to Chiang Mai and want it all, let us let you in on a green secret.
Though the name is unassuming, Tamarind Village provides plenty for both the traveller who wants to stroll on the bustling high street and the traveller who wants to retreat within a leafy tree-lined courtyard for a nap.
It is the best of both worlds in many ways: boutique hotel charm with fierce five-star attention to detail, and storied history with familiar amenities.
A sister property to the renowned Raya Heritage and Rayavadee, we checked in to Tamarind Village for one long weekend. Read on to find out why it romanced us so — even as notorious city dwellers, even as picky Bangkokians that thought to have seen it all.
[All images courtesy of Tamarind Village]
Tamarind Village is located a 15-minute ride from the airport, in the heart of Chiang Mai’s Old City. Take ‘in the heart’ quite seriously here, as the resort’s location is one of its greatest attributes.
Surrounded by temples to either side and nestled within lush greenery, every morning we found it hard to believe that we were really in the town’s centre. Nevertheless, it is true: walk out the hotel’s bamboo promenade and you will find yourself in the midst of a busy walking street. This allows for great morning strolls to local coffeeshops or peace of mind after cocktail bar-hopping in the area. Everything feels within easy reach, which is a great comfort to keep in your back pocket even if you do not leave the resort at all.
Rooms & Suites
Even though Tamarind Village feels like it is spacious and sprawling, we were surprised to learn it is composed of only 41 guest rooms and 5 suites. This is means that the ambience is near always extremely tranquil, which is very much a Chiang Mai way of life.
During our stay, we called The Spa Suite our little haven for three nights, accessed via a private staircase in the same building as the spa. This is convenient because it means you’re only a few steps away from a nap post-massage, and you get a large terrace all to yourself (unlike other rooms).
The contemporary yet artful design ethos is very much influenced by the local culture. This is evident in everything from the colourful decor that contrasts with the dark wood furniture and white walls, over to the hill tribe-inspired bathrobes. The terracotta tile floors give off a very homey feel, yet still complement the sweet, soft, sucks-you-right-in luxury hotel bed. The marble bathrooms are spacious with an outdoor shower we still dream about, and a ginger shampoo and conditioner well worth purchasing.
There is only one restaurant at Tamarind Village, and luckily it is very good.
Situated opposite the lobby, across the dark tile pool, Ruen Tamarind is a cosy cafe-style restaurant serving regional specialties and Thai home-style dishes. Since you’re in Chiang Mai, definitely opt for their ‘Top Ten of Now & Then’ menu, which includes dishes like green chili nam prik noom, mild pork and ginger gaeng hang lay curry, and minced duck breast larb ped.
Ruen Tamarind is also where a breakfast buffet is served every morning, and of course an afternoon tea and light snacks can also be ordered to the pool. One early evening, we even opted for in-room dining (hotel burgers are a marker of a true vacation), which comes in ample sizing and with friendly service.
The key experience at Tamarind Village is to relax, and if a book by the pool isn’t enough for you to induce this, there are a few other activities you can consider.
The Village Spa offers a variety of treatments that span massages, scrubs, wraps, and facials, using fine herbal preparations drawn from local Lanna Thai heritage.
Beyond this, we also love the little library above the restaurant in particular, serving as a private nook to read, draw, or ponder. In the garden, you can take part in a daily cultural activity, be it paper umbrella painting, lotus leaf folding, or herbal compress making.
Definitely don’t leave without checking out the Tamarind Boutique, featuring local silver jewellery (beaded necklaces were swoon-worthy too), colourful clothing, and home accessories. You can also find the aforementioned ginger shampoo and conditioner here.
The sense of ‘village’ at Tamarind Village is wholly charming, and creates a wonderful vacation feeling.
There’s a real message of community here, and it underpins why boutique hotels are oft so heartwarming to stay in. Quiet, intimate, and relaxing, it is as if Tamarind Village is the vortex to a peaceful parallel universe. More than just a place, Tamarind Village is a feeling. And goodness, it feels nice to be here right now.
Tamarind Village, 50 Rachadamnoen Rd. Soi 1, Tambon Si Phum, Chiang Mai, +66 2 301 1861.